07 Mar Light of My World
by a staff worker of MH
All that came to be had life in him, and that life was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower (Jn 1:1-5).
Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Jesus is the maker of history, the freer of slaves, the healer, the great lover of man. And Jesus is as personal as he is cosmic.
These words may mean little or nothing to us unless, like St. Paul, we are assailed by the light of the living, risen Son of God, unless our hearts are stung and burned by the touch of God’s life.
There is Life which is far more than life. There is joy beyond all imagining. There is, right now, this minute, hope and light and healing for us who are flat on our faces in the muck and mire of our broken humanity.
To all of us who are unhinged in a world which seems utterly dark, to us who are sick, tired, disgusted, assailed by anxiety and fear; to us who long and thirst after goodness and truth; to us on the verge of despair—to us are addressed the living words of Jesus:
Come to me all you who labor and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Then you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light (Mt. 11:28-30).
I am the light of the world, Anyone who follows me will not walk in darkness; he will have the light of life (Jn. 8:9-13).
Jesus knows how confused, tired, and cynical we are. He says exactly what he means, and he does just what he says he will do. He makes himself absolutely available. He tells us who he is and promises that by knowing him we will know light, truth, freedom and abundant life.
Some of us feel that these are wonderful words, but for others—for holy people. Not for me!
What about us who are afraid of death, afraid of our neighbors, afraid of darkness? What about us who are guilty, ashamed, and embarrassed? What about us who are angry and hostile and hateful? What about us who are addicted? What about us whose faces are in the gutter?
Yes, what about us hypocrites and phonies, us liars and thieves, us deceivers? Is there hope for the likes of us? How can anyone so without hope think that good things could come to him?
Through our own human ability, this is not possible. But God is God and not man, and his love is poured forth on all people without exception.
It is precisely to us who think little or nothing of ourselves that he most especially speaks. It is precisely to us who suffer the most hideous, embarrassing, and neurotic maladies that the living Gospel of Jesus is proclaimed. I have not come to call the just, but sinners (Mt 9:13, Mk 2:17, Lk 5:32).
I am one of those sufferers. I came up against the wall of despair and felt the embrace of the resurrected, living, and powerful Jesus Christ. I can state with conviction to the point of folly that God comes to the poor and the afflicted to heal, to console, and to transform.
For the Lord called me and broke open my heart with his love. I can testify that his word is always love, and his promise, always life.
My response as a person re-born is to cleave to his word and his promise so tenaciously that my identity is found only in God’s life, in my relationship to him.
When we have known God’s life, we desire, as he desires, to speak about it, to proclaim it, to bear his message of love to the ends of the earth.
God has swooped down upon us, the afflicted, the sinners, and the lowly, to send us back into the world so that we can help set it on fire with his love.
The Kingdom of God is being established here and now. The Kingdom of God is the Light of the world shining in and through the hearts of those touched by his love.
—Adapted from Coming Home, an anthology of writings by the MH staff, all anonymous, (1977), pp.50-53, Dimension Books, out of print.